THORNTON — All Fairview had to do was bide its time, wait out the early Cherry Creek rush and strike when the time was right.
And strike the Knights did.
After the Bruins built a four-point lead after the 200-yard freestyle relay, the Knights shifted gears and added team points in bunches. That approach gave them 382.5 points and a second straight Class 5A state swimming and diving title.
"Both (titles) are really special," junior Jenna Reznicek said. "This year especially because we weren't sure we were going to win. Last year we lost a lot of crucial swimmers."
Co-head coach Stacey Tobey had faith that her girls could get it done, but the early results of the meet weren't trending in their favor. After the 200 individual medley the Bruins held a 110-102 lead over the Knights.
But for a brief moment, fans were able to forget about the team race and appreciate what was happening right in front of them. Fossil Ridge sophomore Lucy Bell jumped out to a quick lead in that 200 individual medley and as the race got closer to ending, her lead only got bigger.
By the time she hit the freestyle leg — the final leg — her lead was nearly half the pool. She touched the wall in one minute, 58.16 seconds. With two years still to swim, there's a chance that she could pull of a rare feat in taking Regis Jesuit legend Missy Franklin's name off the wall. Franklin holds the record in the event at 1:56.85.
"I know if I put in the work and the training I could do that in the next two years and it's really exciting," Bell said. "A lot of it I couldn't do without my teammates behind be. I want to compete for them too because they help me a tremendous amount."
That same event saw Teagan Steinmetz and Jenna Smith from Cherry Creek both finish in the top six to give the Bruins the team lead for the first time of the night. It was short-lived however, as Morgan Lukianc took fifth in the 50 freestyle for Fairview, giving the defending champions the lead once again.
Bell later added a gold medal in the 100 freestyle.
But from that point on it was Creek and Fairview trading places at the top of the team standings. Tobey had to admit that after the 50 freestyle, confidence started to waiver a bit.
"After the 50 and heading into diving, we didn't have a diver that qualified and Cherry Creek had one that finished (sixth)," she said. "So we were a little nervous."
Those nerves were settled after Reznicek took second in the 100 backstroke and freshman Ella Ziegert came in sixth.
"I knew it was going to be close," Reznicek said. "During that race I was really swimming for the team and the points."
The Knight didn't take a gold medal in a single event, but the overall depth of the squad was the primary factor in getting the program its fourth overall title.
The 200 freestyle relay saw a record fall as Chatfield swam the race in 1:34.12, beating Fossil Ridge's time of 1:34.15 in 2018.
Kathryn Shanley was a part of that relay team and also claimed gold medals in the 200 and 500 freestyle.
Both Shanley and Bell figure to make the 2021 meet one for the ages. Now it becomes a year-long waiting game to see if they can add their names to the record book.